South Korean technology giant Samsung is reportedly considering jumping into the fray and securing a share of semiconductor company Arm.
According to a report published by The Korea Times, who cites a top semiconductor industry official in South Korea, Samsung is eyeing up a small stake in the company in the form of an equity investment.
According to the source, Samsung hopes to acquire a 3% to 5% stake in Arm, mimicking Samsung’s equity acquisition in the Dutch semiconductor firm ASML company back in 2012.
”As seen in Samsung’s previous equity purchasing in ASML, Samsung will likely try to acquire equities in Arm. As Samsung could solidify its partnership with ASML after the equity acquisition, Samsung expects it can reduce its licensing fee expenditure by securing equity in Arm.”
The news follows similar reports last week that GPU giant NVIDIA was leading the charge to purchase ARM outright from Japanese tech conglomerate Softbank. According to a Bloomberg report, negotiations were reportedly advanced with a finalized deal expected within weeks.
The Korea Times source suggests that NVIDIA may lack the financial might to acquire Arm outright and would struggle to garner the good favor of fair trade commissions in North America, Europe, and East Asia to approve the acquisition. Softbank reportedly aims to unload Arm for a price north of $40 billion, which stands as a substantial sum even for the world’s leading GPU maker. If NVIDIA can overcome these hurdles, acquiring Arm would unquestionably boost NVIDIA’s future outlook in the semiconductor space.
US semiconductor analyst Jim Handy believes ‘a consortium comprised of fabless companies or intelligent system design companies’ is a far more likely outcome than a single company taking full ownership of Arm. Few individual companies have the coffers even to consider such a major outright acquisition, let alone enter negotiations (other than giants like NVIDIA and Apple), making the consortium a likely result of how Arm’s sale plays out in the weeks and months ahead.
With a growing number of potential suitors joining the race, it’s currently anyone’s guess in whose hands Arm will ultimately end up.